Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders now have access to a new 24/7 national crisis support telephone service, ensuring they can receive culturally safe and appropriate health services where and when they are needed.
Funded through a $16.6 million investment by the Morrison Government, 13 YARN (13 92 76) was co-designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with the support of Lifeline Australia and the peak organisation for Indigenous suicide prevention, Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the service will be staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“Every life lost to suicide is a national tragedy and has a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities,” Minister Hunt said.
“Sadly, suicide accounts for 40 per cent of all deaths of Indigenous children, and the suicide death rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is approximately twice that for non-Indigenous people.”
“This vital service is about ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders have 24/7 access to culturally safe crisis support during the darkest times. It will save and protect lives.”
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the service will support First Australians who may be at risk of suicide, experiencing suicidal ideation or other mental health crises, or who are recovering from a suicide attempt.
“Lifeline collaborated with Gayaa Dhuwi to develop this crisis telephone service so Indigenous Australians are able to access the help and support they need where and when they need it,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.
“Research has shown a gap in mental health services designed and staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. With the launch of 13YARN we are ensuring culturally safe and appropriate support is a phone call away.”
13 YARN is one of the key measures under the Morrison Government’s $3 billion National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (Plan).
The Plan is driving significant investment into and reform of Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention system, ensuring it is suitable and available to all Australians.
As part of the Plan, more than $96 million is being invested into specific mental health and suicide prevention measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This includes funding to establish regional suicide prevention networks in each jurisdiction; implement culturally sensitive, co-designed aftercare services with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations being the preferred service providers; and establish the National Closing the Gap Policy Partnership on Social and Emotional Wellbeing.
The Government has made mental health and suicide prevention a national priority and we are committed to investing in mental health services for all Australians—a key pillar of our Long-Term National Health Plan.
As a result of our investments, funding for mental health and suicide prevention services through the Health portfolio have increased to a record $6.8 billion in 2022-23, more than doubling since 2012-13.
Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline
(13 11 14) or through the 13 YARN platform (13 92 76), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.
If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.
Young Australians needing support can access free services through Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), their local headspace or online through eheadspace (https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/).